November 20, 2013

Why You Get So Much Moore!

I knew for certain I was going to Nashville when I pulled onto Interstate 40 headed East out of Oklahoma City. I didn’t even have time to think about it….. I just went.

I knew I was going to stay with my best friends and do a little recording on Sunday. On Tuesday, as the media rep for Prescription Bluegrass and Brian McNeal, I was invited to watch the filming of a bluegrass segment of “Country’s Family Reunion, Simply Bluegrass” on RFD-TV, at NorthStar Studios.  Monday morning was set aside to have breakfast and interview one of the “GO-TO” media experts in Nashville, Martha Moore, owner of “so much MOORE media.”    By: W.J. Hallock

 Editor's Note:

Most of the time, the news you read is about those in the spotlight.  However, without the folks standing in the shadows those lights would never be as bright as they are.  One such person who makes the light shine the brightest is Media Representative Martha Moore.  This month Prescription Bluegrass' very own W.J. Hallock is turning the spotlight around and shining it Martha's way.

 Martha just celebrated the 25th anniversary of opening “so much MOORE media” as an independent, boutique public relations firm, and Prescription Bluegrass had printed a story on this milestone in her career.

My plan was to write about my experiences and correspondences with Martha at that time, but this chance to go to Tennessee presented itself. I knew I would much rather meet her in person and do a follow-up piece based on the time I had actually to talk to her one-on-one. Martha was more than glad to fit me into her very busy schedule and we met at “Noshville,” which also happens to be Vince Gill’s favorite breakfast stop. Vince wasn’t there, but Martha showed up ahead of schedule and the fun began!

Martha has the personality, charisma, friendliness and experience that are, in my humble opinion, the main reasons she has had the success she’s had. Her focus on the job at hand makes her a force to be reckoned with. I found myself learning more about the ins and outs of the music business in the short time I was with her than I ever thought possible. I made it a point to listen to all she had to tell me and to absorb all the different angles, twists and turns that can make or break an artist’s career. Two weeks later, I’m still recalling tidbits of wisdom from her!

My dealings with Martha started in the fall of 2011 when she sent me the first two CDs released by The Roys, a brother and sister bluegrass act from Massachusetts. The package was bulging with information.

In the two-plus years I have been communicating back and forth with Martha, I have found her to be a wealth of information, and any background I needed regarding her clients was on its way to me in a mouse click. Every move, every event and all important data pertaining to The Roys comes straight to Brian and me. She’s wonderful at keeping us apprised of it all, and I personally feel that she and the entire team surrounding The Roys are the reason this new act has had the meteoric ride to success that they are having.

Strategic planning and attention to detail are just normal operating procedure to Martha. That fact was evident the next day at the RFD videotaping when Lee and Elaine knew exactly who I was, that I had come to see and talk to them, and they made time for me in their work day. Face-to-face meetings can tell so much about a person, and I came away feeling these two gracious young people are the lucky recipients of Martha’s talents.

I have found that a lot of bluegrass artists just don’t spend the time or take advantage of all the mediums available to them to get the word out about their music. I get lots of CDs in the mail, but sometimes absolutely no info at all comes with it. I have actually received CDs with NO contact information anywhere, even on the CD jacket! All those bios, recording and personnel facts are what make my job of reviewing new music so much easier. The more I have to work with, the more in-depth I can be.

Martha and I discussed at length the lack of importance that many bluegrass acts place on a media plan. We both can’t figure out why many of the major, big time bluegrass acts just don’t have a media person representing their best interests. With all that’s available on the internet alone, Martha feels that every act has the opportunity for promotion, but they either don’t know how to take advantage of it or they don’t have a sense of how much can be accomplished.

The Roys are an exception to this genre faux pas.

I learned from my time with Martha that she is one very adaptable and progressive thinking lady. She moved to Nashville from Washington, D.C. in 1976 and spent four years working for MCA/ABC as Manager of Press & Artist Development. It was at that time she worked with the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe.

She then went to Polygram Records for eight years as Director of Press & Artist Relations/Nashville. During those twelve years, she worked with a list of artists a mile long, from country giants Don Williams, Merle Haggard, George Strait, Kathy Mattea, Lee Greenwood Loretta Lynn and Brenda Lee to rock stars John Mellencamp, KISS, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Joe Cocker, just to name a few.

With so much MOORE media, Martha has worked with and helped to shine those bright lights towards some of bluegrass music's top stars like Ricky Skaggs and The Grascals. She's helped to publicize the Australian band, The Stetson Family's latest American release, and Becky Schlegel and Big Smith also owe a lot of their media success to the efforts of Martha and so much MOORE media.

She also made connections with the music business elite and learned the music industry back when Nashville was still the “Country Music” capital. Unfortunately, Nashville is not the same city it was in the ‘80s … it has grown to include many worldwide and different art forms. Martha has been through it all, seen what has worked, what has failed, who was in this week and out next month, watched as the roads narrowed into so many new directions and made a niche for herself in an ever evolving cycle of change. For her to be so cognizant of what it takes to succeed year after year and to roll with the tides and thrive through it all is a testament to her strength as a business leader and her personal motivation.

One other fact that I find very important in Martha’s resume is that during her formative years working for these music industry giants she also became very adept at dealing with the international media as easily as she deals with U.S. outlets. More and more bluegrass acts are touring in Europe these days, and it is imperative to have connections with the foreign press.

At one time, Martha wrote a popular music column, “Roots, Boots & ‘Billy” for Ireland’s Country Music Plus Magazine. Being able successfully to tap into the overseas market can do wonders for a musician’s career, and Martha brings years of experience in that area to her clients.

When Martha opened the doors to so much MOORE media in November of 1988, her very first client was none other than Johnny Cash! Her eyes seemed to light up as she told me of working with the late, great songwriter Hank Cochran for fifteen years. It is plain to see as she talks about her clients that there is a real affection for the people she represents, and that feeling was very much reciprocated by The Roys. In talking with Lee, it was apparent the he and Elaine have all the faith in the world that they are right where they belong - working with Martha. You can’t argue with success.